The 24 Most Scenic Places to Camp in the United States
One of the best things about traveling around the U.S. is that there are so many great places to camp. Nature lovers can enjoy the fresh air, glorious mountains, and clear lakes and streams during a weekend (or longer) camping trip. Not only can you set up a tent at these picturesque locations, you can also enjoy plenty of picnic areas, hiking trails, fishing, swimming and more activities in the great wide wilderness. From the piney woods of Maine to the crisp lakes of Alaska, your perfect outdoor trip awaits.
While many of these parks have distinct, built-up camping grounds to choose from with running water and electricity for RV parking (great for road trips), more experienced outdoors people can also find plenty of locations for backcountry camping where they can really rough it.
Take a look at some of the amazing campsites around the U.S., and don’t forget to bring your sleeping bag — and your camera.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Located on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park is the Pine Tree State’s natural jewel. The park boasts 17 million acres of forest, 6,000 lakes and ponds, and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams to offer a scenic backdrop to your hiking and camping. The park has three campgrounds to set up your tent: Blackwoods (close to Bar Harbor), Seawall (less touristy), and Schoodic Woods (on the Schoodic Peninsula).
White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
If you’re looking for a rugged hike, look no further than this northernmost part of the Appalachian Valley. The sights are particularly magical in the fall when leaf-peeping season is at its peak. Plus, the forest has four drive-in campgrounds with a combined 800 campsites.
Minnewaska State Park Reserve, New York
Only 94 miles outside of New York City, this state park reserve sits on Shawangunk Ridge, more than 2,000 feet above sea level, surrounded by rocky terrain. That’s a lot of space to hike, bike and especially enjoy the view.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
A short drive from Washington D.C., Shenandoah National Park has 500 miles of trails, including an eight-mile hike up Old Rag Mountain that’s a must-do for avid hikers, this glorious park gives you plenty of lush views of forest and waterfalls. It’s open in the spring, summer and fall and has four campgrounds to choose from.
Assateague Island Campgrounds, Maryland
Assateague Island Campgrounds are only nine miles south of Ocean City, with 37 miles of oceanfront beaches for camping, swimming, surfing, good paddle-boarding, crabbing (that’s hunting for crabs, of course), biking, kayaking, and wild horses.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
You can have one of the world’s largest barrier reefs right outside your tent in this beautiful park. Campers can rent some snorkel gear spend their days on the beach or exploring Fort Jefferson. This area is also great for bird-watching, so make sure you pack a pair of binoculars.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
If you’re looking for a great place to go rafting, canoeing, and kayaking, the Rio Grande is an excellent place to go. But there are also trails along the park’s desert, mountain, and river landscapes for hiking or backpacking. You’ll find three developed campgrounds there as well asl backcountry camping.
Ozark National Forest, Arkansas
Arkansas has loads of countryside that is often overlooked. Here, you'll find nine beaches, thousands of acres of lakes and streams, and 400 miles of hiking trails. Campers can choose between 23 developed campgrounds for RV and tent camping (a combined 320 sites overall.)
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Don’t underestimate the beauty of the Badlands. The climate may be rough, but it’s still gorgeous. Between the many rock formations you’ll see there, you’ll also find prairies and places to peak at ancient fossils. There are two choices of campgrounds: Cedar Pass (with amenities like running water, electricity, etc.), and Sage Creek (with no running water but you can see bison often wandering around).
Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho
The steep Smoky Mountains give any nature a one of a kind view, practically like a Bob Ross painting. There are 85 campgrounds in all at this national forest, but among the best stays is at Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
Glacier National Park, Montana
There are 13 developed campgrounds and more than 1,000 sites for you to stay and bask in the beautiful views of glaciers America’s north. Hikers can also enjoy 700 miles of trails through forests, meadows, and mountains.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Just north of Jackson Hole, you can peak at the Rocky Mountains and see plenty of wildlife and lakes. It’s also located next to the National Elk Refuge, where you can get up close and personal to hundreds of elk, depending on when you go. You can stay at one of the six campgrounds in Grand Teton National Park, but Signal Mountain in particular has the best reviews.
Gunnison National Forest, Colorado
With 3,000 miles of trails and 1.6 million acres of public land, you’re guaranteed a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains here. Gunnison also offers a variety of landscapes to stay among its 30 campsites, including ones on open meadows, evergreen forests, mountains, and right by the lakes.
Arches National Park, Utah
Nothing beats waking up on a cold morning to see fresh, white snow set against the red rocks of Arches National Park. One of the most popular trails, the Delicate Arch Trail, takes you on an amazing hike full of photo opportunities. The park only has one campground,The Devils Garden, which has 50 campsites, but there are other places to camp nearby in the Moab area.
Arch Rock Campground, Nevada
Just 55 miles from Las Vegas in the Valley of Fire State Park, Arch Rock Campground is the quieter of the two campgrounds in the park and is surrounded by dramatic red sandstones. The sites are all very private as well, and can be explored on foot.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
There’s no place like the Grand Canyon if you want a stunning view. Reservations are recommended for two of the three developed campgrounds during the summer. Backcountry camping is also allowed with a permit. While the South Rim is easier to get to, it can get a little crowded. For a more secluded stay, try the North Rim, if you don’t mind having a little harder time getting there.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
This park hosts full moon walks where rangers answer questions about the nocturnal creatures in the area, local lore, and astronomy. It’s also a great place to spot bats in the caves in late summer and early fall. Inexperienced campers beware, though, there is only backcountry camping, and all campers are required to get a permit.
Olympic National Park, Washington
You can reach this campground along an easy walk through Olympic National Park. There’s nothing like camping next to this beautiful coastline, marked by several sea stacks — and did we mention that campfires on the beach are permitted here?
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
This park is not only home to the United State’s deepest lake (1,943 feet) but is also home to a sleeping volcano — so there’s plenty of photo opportunities for nature lovers. Campers can choose between Mazama (for RV and tent camping) and Lost Creek (tents only) campgrounds. And yes, there’s also backcountry camping with a permit.
Joshua Tree State Park, California
There are a number of campsites located in this park, including Jumbo Rocks Campground, known for its big boulder rocks that shelter sites from the wind. But you can also choose between the park’s 124 sites among its 800,000 acres, which are all first-come, first-serve. Plenty of options to see the park’s namesake, the Mojave Desert native Joshua tree.
Yosemite National Park, California
Everyone who loves nature has to go to Yosemite National Park at some point in their lives, especially for a good camping trip. Nearly 95% of the park is designated wilderness, and there are 13 popular campgrounds scattered throughout the park, as well as backcountry camping for people who really want to rough it.
Sequoia and Kings National Parks, California
Want to see some of the biggest trees in North America. Look no further than these national parks. Set up camp among the 14 main campgrounds in Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Most campgrounds are first come, first served, but you can make reservations up to six months in advance.
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
You’ll get amazing views anywhere else in Hawaii, so why not while you’re camping in the state’s national park? The biggest draw of the park is a 10,023-foot dormant volcano, which is a great spot for the best views of Hawaii’s natural landscape. You can choose to stay in Kīpahulu (a drive-up campground), the Summit Area (both drive-up and wilderness camping), and the Wilderness Area (tent camping and cabin rentals).
Denali National Park, Alaska
If you’ve never been to Alaska, you’re missing out. Some of the United States’ more beautiful scenery can be found there. Denali State Park offers six million acres of land to see wildlife, beautiful trails and plenty of plants, creeks and mountains, including Mount McKinley, North America's tallest peak. Choose from six established campgrounds with a combined 291 sites, including backcountry campgrounds.
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